Recreation

It’s Baaack! Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby Returns

Welcome Back, Shanty Town! The Annual Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby returns this year February 11 & 12 at Twin Lakes Reservoir south of Leadville.

Welcome Back, Shanty Town! The Annual Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby returns this year February 11 & 12 at Twin Lakes Reservoir south of Leadville.

Spac_50By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today

As winter storms cycle through the Colorado high country, the snow piles up, as temperatures drop down, and outdoor enthusiasts shift gears and gear. So anglers will be glad to see the the return of the Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby in 2017! After a year’s reprieve in 2016, the title sponsor, the Leadville Rod & Gun Club, was able to find some fresh “bait” for its volunteer line, so it’s time to get the word out and Go Fishin!

According to event organizer Angelina Salazar, the 18th Annual Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby will be held on February 11 and 12, at Twin Lakes Reservoir, located about 15 miles south of Leadville, Colorado. This annual Lake County event draws in hundreds of winter anglers from across the state to compete for cash and prizes. It’s certainly a favorite among locals and the competition is fierce! Spac_50lrgc-flyer-ice-fish

Spac_50Competitors can enter to win cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for Mackinaw, Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat fish. Prizes will be awarded on weight of individual fish caught. See how the competition panned out at the last derby in 2015 (RESULTS).

This is also a great outdoor event for the children, passing down family traditions of winter recreation. Children age 12 & under who participate and place in categories will be eligible for a 1st place belt buckle. Trophies will be awarded to 2nd and 3rd winners in each category. There is NO entry fee for the kids competition.

The entry fee is only $40. For an application CLICK HERE. Paper applications can also be picked up locally at the Leadville Sanitation District office at the corner of McWethy Drive and Highway 24 South, near the Dutch Henry Tubing Hill.

Danny Gurula of Leadville shows off his brown at the last derby held in 2015.

Danny Gurule of Leadville shows off his First Place Brown at 12.5 ” at the last derby held in 2015. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

If avoiding house chores and snow shoveling isn’t reason enough to take in some ice fishing, then the prize money for the Leadville Rod & Gun Club Annual Ice Fishing Derby might be: over $4k in cash and prizes will be handed out during the weekend event in February.

And money isn’t the only thing they will be giving away! In fact the LRGC is known for delivering some top-of-the-line prizes including an ice auger and portable ice shanty. Each paid contestant will be eligible to win those prizes.

The LRGC raffle will also be back in 2017 and the lucky winner will receive a Mossberg30-06 Patriot Bolt-Action Rifle with scope. Tickets are $5 a piece or buy 5 for $20 from any club member.

The event headquarters and weigh-in station is staged at the Twin Lakes Dexter Parking lot. The Leadville Rod & Gun Club can be reached at P.O. Box 604, Leadville, CO 80461. Or contact LRGC derby organizers Angelina Salazar at 719-293-0567 or Danny Gurule 719-293-5057.

This year, Leadville Today will again be the media sponsor for the Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby, so stay tuned for all the fishing action, photos, videos, and results. It should be a fun winter weekend! So pull out your shanty, grab your pole and auger and head out for some winter fun – and what may be the biggest fish you ever catch.

That's one big Mac Daddy measureing in at 15.76 lb., 35.75” caught by Dennis Byrne. at the 2015 Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby. This fish took Third Place in the Macinaw contest. Photo: Leadville Today.

That’s one big Mac Daddy measuring in at 15.76 lb., 35.75” caught by Dennis Byrne. at the 2015 Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby. This fish took Third Place in the Macinaw contest. Photo: Leadville Today/ Kathy Bedell.

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New Snowmobile Regulations Effective TODAY, Jan. 1

While most winter sports enthusiasts are glad to see more snow arrive in Leadville Today, the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Division will be keeping an eye on whether or not snowmobile and other off-highway vehicle (OHV) users will be complying with a new regulation effective TODAY, January 1, 2017.

Leadville Today Contributor Brennan Ruegg catches some good speed at Turquoise Lake during a day of winter fun near Leadville in 2014. Photo: White Mountain Snowmobile Tours.

Leadville Today Contributor Brennan Ruegg catches some good speed at Turquoise Lake during a day of winter fun near Leadville in 2014. Photo: White Mountain Snowmobile Tours.

Spac_50In short, regulations now state that a registration applicant must provide acceptable proof of ownership for a boat, snowmobile or other off-highway vehicle. Of course, no word on how this will be enforced with local snowmobile companies and other users of the Leadville Winter Trails, but here are the details outlined by the CPW, who has contributed generously to local trail development and maintainence (SEE STORY).

Effective January 1, 2017, registrations for snowmobiles will need to be presented in the form of one of the following:

  • Bill of sale* that includes both the seller and buyer’s printed names and signatures, the vessel/vehicle identification number (if any), the vessel/vehicle make, model and year (if known), and the date of the sale.
  • Previous registration certificate issued by a governmental entity that lists the applicant as registered owner.
  • Manufacturers Certificate of Origin (MCO)/Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO).
  • Certificate of Title; Any court issued document proving ownership; A collection of personal property by affidavit form pursuant to 15-12-1201, C.R.S.
  • A physical inspection form completed by a CPW agent *An acceptable private party to private party Bill of Sale Template can be downloaded here for your use. ohv-permit

Who Needs to Register:

  • All OHVs owned and operated in Colorado (including motor vehicles and motorcycles that are not licensed for public road access) must display current Colorado OHV registration stickers when in a person’s possession in an OHV staging area or operated on designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.
  • All out of state OHVs (including OHVs that display an out of state OHV registration) must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.

Colorado OHV Permit requirements:

  • All OHVs and motor vehicles (including motorcycles) that display a valid Colorado or out-of -state license plate must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on designated OHV trails in Colorado.
  • All out of state OHVs (including OHVs that display an out of state OHV registration) must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.

How to Register:

To register your OHV in your name for the first time, complete the OHV Registration Form and return it, along with your proof of ownership, to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife – Registration Unit
13787 South Highway 85
Littleton, CO 80125
303-791-1920

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Winter Recreation Is Underway in Leadville

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor

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Ski Cooper opened for the 2016/19 season on December 10. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

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Though folks in Leadville may have bitten their nails through the better part of November, the heavy snow has fallen and nobody is wasting time getting to work – and play – in it. On Saturday, Dec. 10, Ski Cooper opened its lifts to the public bearing a white mountain groomed under a gleaming blue sky. The same day, Pedal Power kicked off the first snowshoe race in their winter series at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse (TPNCC).

ski-cooper-signSki Cooper is Lake County’s down-to-earth resort where the only fluff you’ll find is on the hill. More like a secret club than a resort, Ski Cooper is known for elbow room, short lift lines, budget pricing, and friendliness to youngsters and learners. They hit every mark on opening day, beginning a season that won’t end until April 9. The welcoming crowd comprised all ages and was thin enough to spot plenty Leadville faces both riding and working the lifts.

A lot is scheduled this season at Ski Cooper and at Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub at the base: The First Cooper Cup on December 18; A-Mac DZ on December 22; Carey Nall, founder of Groovespeak, to play on December 29; celebrations on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; and Tw0-fer Tuesdays every Tuesday, where two adult lift tickets cost 52 bucks!

The quickest, and often safest trip for Leadville skiers, Ski Cooper is located just nine miles out of town off Highway 24. Visit the Ski Cooper website for the mountain’s history, more info on upcoming events, their webcam at the summit, and to purchase discounted lift tickets.

Skiers and boarders get ready to take their first turns of the season at Opening Day last Saturday. Photo: Leadvilel Today/Brennan Ruegg.

Skiers and boarders get ready to take their first turns of the season at Opening Day last Saturday. Photo: Leadvilel Today/Brennan Ruegg.

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Pedal Power Pushes Off for Snowshow Race Series

On December 10, Pedal Power kicked off the first snowshoe race in their Winter Race Series at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse (TPNCC). More than twenty competitors took part.

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Snow-shoers gearing up for the Classic 5-Miler, first race of the Pedal Power Winter Race Series. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

Leadville’s own took first place in both women’s and men’s categories: “Smokey” Burgess, proprietor of Community Threads, clocking in the five-mile course at 1:01:05, and Lisa Isom leading the women with a time of 1:06:35. Rick Gregory, also of Leadville, placed second in men at 1:01:23. Smokey’s victory comes as no surprise as he won the Colorado State Championship in 2015, and is keen to make a comeback after sitting out competition last year. The first race always is on 5 miles of TPNCC’s pristine cross-country ski trails.

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Mark Burgess, commonly known as Smokey, leads the pack on Saturday. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

Pedal Power is a full-service bike shop in Eagle-Vail, and has been holding the Winter Race Series since 2007. The Winter Race Series will continue through March, returning to Lake County on January 21 on Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville Campus, and again to TPNCC on March 4 for the Colorado State Championship. The series is made up of two snowshoe races, one bike race, one cross-country ski race, and a triathlon.

Visit the Pedal Power Winter Race Series site for a full listing of results and for info on past and future races.

Tennessee Pass Nordic Center and Cookhouse hosts this Classic 5-Miler every year. Located at the foot of Ski Cooper, TPNCC offers fine dining at the ski-in, ski-out cookhouse, sleeping yurts, and 27 kilometers of cross-country track. Set up a weekend there by calling 719-486-1750.

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Brennan Ruegg is a contributor for Leadville Today, as well as a private tutor, substitute teacher, photographer, and a waiter at The Grill.

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Gearing Up for Cross-Country Skiing in Leadville

As the snow starts to pile up and blue skies prevail in between storms, thoughts turn to outdoor recreation, strapping on the gear and getting out into the great outdoors. For many, that means taking advantage of 11.5 miles of breathtaking views of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges on Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail (MBT). This all-season skiing/snowshoeing/winter biking trail loops around the city, through its historic mining district. And with the recent snow it was time to check in and see how conditions are stacking up.

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Cross-country skiing is prime on the Mineral Belt Trail, Leadville’s 11.5-mile year round recreation path.

“Right now, we’re just tracking down the trail with the (snow) cat,” explained Lake County Public Works Director Brad Palmer. As for when the trail will start to be groomed, Palmer explained, “We need about another 6 – 10 inches of snow before we can drop the tiller,” which is used to create those ridged stripes, allowing recreationalists to stay on top of the snow while enjoying the MBT. That 6-10 inches should be arriving between Monday and Tuesday of next week, with grroming efforts in place by the end of the week.

Leadville_Loppet_2016_1Of course the MBT is open and already being used by skiers who just can’t wait for the corduroy to be put in place. Users should take caution in areas where the snow might be sparse, and speed should always be taken into consideration on this multi-use trail, especially around some of those blind curves. Also local officials remind users that there are leash laws in place and ALL dogs – no matter how friendly – are to be leashed when enjoying the trek with their owner.

The primary fundraiser for the MBT is the annual Leadville Loppet. Registration is open for the 2017 cross-country ski race, held on February 12. Since 2003, the freestyle and classic race includes a 44k, 22k, 10k, and fun 5k which is traditionally held goofy clothing. The races begin on the Colorado Mountain College campus. Register HERE. Spac_50

Skinny Ski Deal Includes Tennessee Pass Nodric Center

The Colorado Cross Country Ski Association (CCCSA) is making exploration easier with a multi-ski resort pass good at six of the Nordic ski areas in the state. The CCCSA 2016-17 Punch Pass is on sale now for $99 and it allows purchasers to discover the snow on Nordic trails at six different resorts. And the great news for locals is that the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center is included in the deal!

Tennessee Pass Nordic Center is located out at Ski Cooper, northof Leadville. Photo: Leadville Today.

Tennessee Pass Nordic Center is located out at Ski Cooper, northof Leadville. Photo: Leadville Today.

“Colorado has some of the finest Nordic experiences in the country and we want people to have the opportunity to explore them,” said Igor Guziur of Devil’s Thumb Ranch. “With six different resorts to experience, it’s a great way to see a side of Colorado that you may not have visited before.”

The punch passes are valid for two trail passes to Breckenridge Nordic, Crested Butte Nordic, Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Keystone Nordic, Snow Mountain Ranch and Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. The passes are transferable, so two people could share a pass for double the fun at each resort. Additional discounts on rentals, tours and lodging with specified partners are also included in the pass.

Spac_50Legacy Foundation Appoints Abby Long to Lead

Tomorrow, December 1 marks the official opening date for registration for the Leadville Race Series 2017 season. That’s right, thousands of runners and cyclists will log-on and sign up for a variety of races, including lottery entries for the coveted Leadville Trail 100 (LT100) 100-mile Run and Bike.

The Leadville Legacy gave $1000 to the Helping Hands organization and $500 to the Leadville 9 Health Fair. The Leadville Legacy Foundation is the charitable arm of the Leadville Race Series. Pictured here left to right: Tyrone Rimbert (Legacy Board), John Circullo (Legacy Board), Connie Yant (Helping Hands), Joann Circullo (9Health Fair) and Carl Miller (Legacy Board).

The Leadville Legacy gave $1000 to the Helping Hands organization and $500 to the Leadville 9 Health Fair. The Legacy Foundation is the charitable arm of the Leadville Race Series. Pictured here left to right: Tyrone Rimbert (Legacy Board), John Circullo (Legacy Board), Connie Yant (Helping Hands), Carl Miller (Legacy Board) and Joann Circullo (9Health Fair).

Did you know that a portion of race entry fees go directly to meet local needs? Created in 2002, the Leadville Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit foundation which addresses the ever-increasing needs of the Leadville and Lake County communities. The Legacy fund thrives through generous contributions from individuals and corporations, as well as a portion of race entry fees with every dollar staying right here in Leadville. If you’ve lived here for any length of time, you’ve benefitted from the Legacy’s efforts.

So, it was encouraging, and particularly meaningful to the local community, when the news that Abigail (Abby) Long was named as Executive Director of the Leadville Legacy Foundation in late October.

“The Legacy Foundation, in true Leadville spirit, struck gold with the acquisition of Abigail Long as our new Executive Director,” stated LT100 and Legacy Founder Ken Chlouber. “Expect a lot from Abby, you won’t be disappointed!”

Abby Long is the new Executive Director of the Leadville Legacy Foundation.

Abby Long is the new Executive Director of the Leadville Legacy Foundation.

Of course, many on the race scene already know Long, who served as Athlete Service & Registration Manager for the Leadville Race Series, owned by Lifetime. Long left that position after several years last September, and was readily scooped up by Chlouber and Merilee Maupin, founders of the Leadville Legacy, who enthusiastically welcomed her to this new position.

Long certainly has the experience and education for the new position, with over 8 years of administrative, fundraising, customer service, and program design & implementation experience in the nonprofit sector, Long also holds a BA in Public and Community Service from Providence College in Rhode Island, as well as a Master’s degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Vermont.

And while that kind of resume will get you somewhere, what makes for lasting success in the Magic City are relationships. And Long is fully immersed in the Lake County community, serving on several boards, including the Mineral Belt Trail.

“I look forward to developing relationships between other local organizations for the future progress of Leadville,” stated Long.

The Leadville Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization addressing present community needs and supporting a better, brighter tomorrow for Lake County, while respecting and maintaining Leadville’s mining heritage. The Legacy has supported such efforts as the Leadville Community Park, a SnoCat Groomer for Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail system, new playgrounds for our Lake County Intermediate & Elementary Schools, plus the Legacy’s Annual Children’s Holiday Party at The Center. The joy these children express when opening that special present from Santa is unforgettable!

Leadville Race Series Director Josh Colley, at podium, along with Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Board Member Carl Miller (Right) distributes one of 49 one-thousand dollar scholarships at the 2016 Lake County High School Class Day in Leadville Today. Since the Legacy scholarship was introduced in 2009 the program has now distributed over $400,000 worth of scholarships to LCHS graduates to continue with their education beyond high school. Part of the scholarship funds are generated through race registration fees.

Leadville Race Series Director Josh Colley, at podium, along with Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Board Member Carl Miller (Right) distributes one of 49 one-thousand dollar scholarships at the 2016 Lake County High School Class Day. Since the Legacy scholarship was introduced in 2009 the program has now distributed over $335,000 worth of scholarships to LCHS graduates to continue with their education beyond high school. Part of the scholarship funds are generated through race registration fees.

The Leadville Legacy Foundation also contributes to the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Scholarship program. Each May, the Legacy awards a $1,000.00 scholarship to every graduating Lake County Senior pursuing any form of higher education. Since the beginning of The Legacy Foundation in 2009 over $335,000.00 has been awarded and for the past two years 100% of LCHS graduates applied and received a Legacy Scholarship!

The Leadville Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. You will be able to donate to the Leadville Legacy Foundation online at race registration checkout or by visiting coloradogives.org and searching “LT100 Legacy.” You can also mail your donation to:

Leadville Legacy Foundation
PO Box 234
Leadville, CO 80461

New Snowmobile Regulations Effective January 1

While most winter sports enthusiasts are glad to see more snow arrive in Leadville Today, the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Division will be keeping an eye on whether or not snowmobile and other off-highway vehicle (OHV) users will be complying with a new regulation effective January 1, 2017.

Leadville Today Contributor Brennan Ruegg catches some good speed at Turquoise Lake during a day of winter fun near Leadville in 2014. Photo: White Mountain Snowmobile Tours.

Leadville Today Contributor Brennan Ruegg catches some good speed at Turquoise Lake during a day of winter fun near Leadville in 2014. Photo: White Mountain Snowmobile Tours.

In short, regulations now state that a registration applicant must provide acceptable proof of ownership for a boat, snowmobile or other off-highway vehicle. Of course, no word on how this will be enforced with local snowmobile companies and other users of the Leadville Winter Trails, but here are the details outlined by the CPW, who has contributed generously to local trail development and maintainence (SEE STORY).

Effective January 1, 2017, registrations for snowmobiles will need to be presented in the form of one of the following:

  • Bill of sale* that includes both the seller and buyer’s printed names and signatures, the vessel/vehicle identification number (if any), the vessel/vehicle make, model and year (if known), and the date of the sale.
  • Previous registration certificate issued by a governmental entity that lists the applicant as registered owner.
  • Manufacturers Certificate of Origin (MCO)/Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO).
  • Certificate of Title; Any court issued document proving ownership; A collection of personal property by affidavit form pursuant to 15-12-1201, C.R.S.
  • A physical inspection form completed by a CPW agent *An acceptable private party to private party Bill of Sale Template can be downloaded here for your use. ohv-permit

Who Needs to Register:

  • All OHVs owned and operated in Colorado (including motor vehicles and motorcycles that are not licensed for public road access) must display current Colorado OHV registration stickers when in a person’s possession in an OHV staging area or operated on designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.
  • All out of state OHVs (including OHVs that display an out of state OHV registration) must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.

Colorado OHV Permit requirements:

  • All OHVs and motor vehicles (including motorcycles) that display a valid Colorado or out-of -state license plate must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on designated OHV trails in Colorado.
  • All out of state OHVs (including OHVs that display an out of state OHV registration) must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.

How to Register:

To register your OHV in your name for the first time, complete the OHV Registration Form and return it, along with your proof of ownership, to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife – Registration Unit
13787 South Highway 85
Littleton, CO 80125
303-791-1920

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Ski Cooper: Buttoned Up and Ready for Winter Fun

Last Saturday, Oct. 22, Ski Cooper/Chicago Ridge held their annual community meeting at the lodge of Leadville’s ski mountain.

Ski Cooper's General Manager Dan Torsell addresses a crowd of mostly staff at the Annual Community Meeting held October 22 at the lodge.

Ski Cooper’s General Manager Dan Torsell addresses a crowd of mostly staff at the Annual Community Meeting held October 22 at the lodge.

General Manager Dan Torsell and Chairman of the Board John Clapper conducted the informational session which highlighted the previous ski/board season, presented the plans for 2016/17, and answered questions from the community. Also in attendance were Ski Cooper’s Board of Director members Greg Teter, Ron Yudnich, Howard Tritz and Jane Harelson. Along that line, it was announced that Ski Cooper has an opening on the Board of Directors. Those interested are encouraged to send a letter of interest to PO Box 896, Leadville, CO 80461. The sooner, the better as they will be filling the seat by the end of November.

When it comes right down to it, for most skiers and boarders, the two most important items that came out of the meeting are dates: Saturday, Dec. 10 will be opening day for the 2016/17 season and Sunday, April 9 the hill will shut down for the year. Now, as usual, if Mother Nature decides to bring enough snow before the 10th, then management may decide to open the Friday after Thanksgiving and provide skiing on weekends before the official December 10 opening. Stay tuned with an eye toward the sky!

Ski Cooper continues their incredible $30 Thursdays this season with live music Apres Ski at Katie O'Rourke's Irish Pub. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today.

Ski Cooper continues their incredible $30 Thursdays this season with live music Apres Ski at Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today.

The following are other highlights from the 2016 Ski Cooper Community Meeting.

The Nuts and Bolts:

  • The 2015/16 was Cooper’s most successful financial season to date. Ski Cooper saw a 36% gross revenue increase, seeing a 1.15 million in the bank at the end of the season. Of course, off-season maintenance and repairs brings that balance down to 850,000 as they head into the start of the 2016/17 season.
  • 2015/16 was Cooper’s 2nd highest skier-visit season in history, reported Chairman Clapper with 71,000 skier visits for last year, almost a 15% increase over the prior season.
  • Capital expenditures are always at the forefront of any ski operations and this year Cooper bought on a new PistenBully 400 grooming cat, a large plow/sand truck to improve parking lot plowing and a mini excavator for trail and parking lot maintenance.

“We stay on top of the equipment,” reported Cooper’s Vice President of Mountain Operations Tim Kerrigan explaining Cooper’s extensive summer lift maintenance program, including a major project completed this summer: replacement of the bottom bull-wheel bearing on the Piney Basin Triple. While the original bearing was still functioning normally, Cooper’s pro-active approach replaced the parts as instructed per manufacturer’s recommendation. It was reported that all of Cooper’s lifts passed their state tramway inspections earlier this month with flying colors.

Repairs and Improvements

  • Fresh paint in the lodge, some roof patching, and the standard maintenance to food service operations were tended to during the off season.
  • Improvements for 2016/17 include: new mountaintop Yurt lodge with food service. By now the concrete should be poured for the yurt’s base and visitors will begin to notice the construction of this secondary food and beverage location.
  • Longer-term improvements which include the capital expenditure wish-list for the next 3 years include: 600 sq ft addition to base lodge; front-end loader upgrade; new lift and expert terrain to skiers’ right of Motherlode (pending permitting).

The staff

  • Locals and returning visitors will see many familiar faces as not much has changed with Cooper’s staff. What has changed is the size of the staff, adding two new employees as Michelle Glenny joins the front half of the food and beverage house, and Dana Johnson comes on board as Ski Cooper’s new marketing person, focusing on group sales as well as expanding events during the summer months for weddings, and other groups gatherings.

The slopes

  • The XP 4-Day Pass returns for the 2016/17 ski season at just $109! This pass, which looks just like a season pass (photo and all!), entitles the holder to any 4 days on the slopes during the 2016/17 season. Aside from being non-transferable (which just means that the pass can only be used by the person named/pictured on the pass), the XP Pass has no restrictions and no blackout dates. If you do the math, that means you can ski at Cooper for only $27.25/day! Availability is limited, so don’t wait!
  • Michelle Muggler with the US Forest Service, presented the new “Ski With a Ranger” program for this season. Once a week (day TBD), guests will have the chance to take a few runs with a USFS Snow Ranger and learn about history, ecology, biology, geology, geography, and other natural characteristics at and around Cooper.

That’s the wrap up for Ski Cooper. Get those skis, boards and knees in shape, because it won’t be long before you’re hitting the slopes at Leadville’s ski mountain.

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On Saturday, October 29 everyone is invited to meet Leadville’s talented artist: Justin Talbot, and celebrate his photographic accomplishments.

On Saturday, October 29 everyone is invited to meet Leadville’s talented artist: Justin Talbot, and celebrate his photographic accomplishments.

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Winter Highlighted in “Experience Colorado” – Leadville

Leadville will be represented on the little screen as part of Season 3 of Out West – Experience Colorado, which airs on XFINITY TV. It’s all about winter in this segment, featuring Leadville Ski Joring, Nordic skiing and dinner at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse and Nordic Center and lodging at Grand West Village Resorts. Then it’s off to the dogs at Alpine Adventures Dogsledding. Enjoy the video and thanks to hostess Maddie Baker for showing off our little mountain town!
Did you make the cut? There’s a lot of old ski joring footage in the video, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you can always tell the age of the video footage by what’s going on with the buildings on Harrison Avenue in the background – or how old your kid is in the video! Enjoy!

Presidental Candidate: “I Commit! I Won’t Quit!”

By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today

For most Leadvillites, the crossover of sports into politics is not such a foreign concept. After all, Founder of the Leadville Trail 100 (LT100) Ken Chlouber was immersed in Colorado politics as a State Representative and then, Senator for most of the formulative years of the races.

So, it should come as no surprise that Leadville has a tie to one of the leading presidential candidates. And as usual, it has a connection with the LT100. Can you guess who it is?

Which of these leading 2016 Presidential Candidates has earned bith a Leadvilel Trail 100 Bike abd Run belt buckle by finishing the 100-mile races?

Which of these leading 2016 Presidential Candidates has earned both a Leadville Trail 100 Bike and Run belt buckle by finishing the 100-mile races?

Donald Trump? Did he ever race in the LT100? Nope, while he claims to have the stamina to go the distance, most would doubt he could ever take on the Columbine climb, successfully.

Clinton? Does she run marathons? While Hillary’s health has recently been called into question, no one has even seen a picture of her pedaling along the campaign trail on a bicycle or lacing up her running shoes, much like her husband former President Bill Clinton was known to do.

But right below those two front runners, on the presidential ballot in all 50 states is Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson. And while political animals make note of Johnson’s two-terms as New Mexico’s Governor (1994-2003), and as the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 2012 and now again in 2016, for diehard LT100 racers, it’s all about a different set of numbers and dates.

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson at the start of the 2012 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. Unfortunately this race ended in a DNF for the politician. Johnson has run and biked several LT100 races beginning in 1989. Could Leadville see a President at next year’s start line? Photo: fitsnews.com

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson at the start of the 2012 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. Unfortunately this race ended in a DNF for the politician. Johnson has run and biked several LT100 races beginning in 1989. Could Leadville see a President at next year’s start line? Photo: fitsnews.com

A lifelong athlete, Johnson’s passion for extreme, endurance sports eventually found him at the start line of the LT100 “Race Across the Sky” Run for the first time back in 1989. While dangerously close to the 30 hour cut-off time, Johnson did finish the grueling 100-mile foot race in 29 hours, 45 minutes, 9 seconds. Like many, that first Leadville experience was the hook, and Johnson has been back many times since then.

His most recent attempt came in 2012 at the internationally renowned LT100 Mountain Bike Race. For Johnson, the 100-mile course through some of the Colorado Rockies most challenging terrain was considered a break from the campaign trail during his first run as the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in the 2012 Election.

Of course, for those keeping track, 2012 race was also the year that saw the top two podium places for the LT100 MTB secured by Europeans Alban Lakata (6:32:22.94) and Christoph Signwil (6:34:50.29).

Rebecca Rusch was the first woman to cross the 2012 LT100 MTB finish line, securing her championship and smashing her own record by nearly 15 minutes! Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

Rebecca Rusch was the first woman to cross the 2012 LT100 MTB finish line, securing her championship and smashing her own record by nearly 15 minutes! Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

Fortunately, the good old USA was represented well in the women’s field, as one of the top female endurance athletes in the world, Rebecca Rusch from Ketchum, Idaho took top honors with a time of 7:28:05.60, smashing her own personal record by nearly 15 minutes! It was a year for the record books.

But what about Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson? Did he take Chlouber’s fire and brimstone pre-race speech to heart? Did he realize that he IS better than he thinks he is, that he CAN do more than he thinks he can?

Most voters would like to think that a person seeking the highest office in the land would be able to “Dig Deep,” as Chlouber would say. But in recent weeks Johnson’s mishaps along the campaign trail – much like the racer’s LT100 trail experience – has offered up some low points.

First, there was that MSNBC interview a few weeks back when Johnson was asked what he would do about Aleppo if elected President, to which he replied, “And what is Aleppo?” Next, came his struggle to name one world leader he respects, unable to provide an answer to a relatively simple question for a presidential candidate. This past week, the heat was turned up a notch, as political pundits and major-party leaders were calling for his team to pull out of the race, to concede.

In an interview with The Denver Post before the start of the 2012 LT100 MTB race, Johnson said, “I’m not going to quit. I’m fit and I’m going to finish . . . And in running for office, I’m not going to quit. The message is so important; it’s part of the journey. If you set out and it’s all about winning the race, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Is winning actually about getting more votes?”

No doubt, it will be voters who make that call on November 8 in the Presidential Election, because for now, Johnson doesn’t have any intention of waving the white flag on the campaign trail. He is on the ballot in all 50 states and is determined to give voters another option.

But what about that 2012 bike race? How did Johnson fare? Unfortunately, #1783 DNF’d and was pulled from the race after only 2 hours, 28 minutes and 42 seconds.

Voters can only hope, that for the sake of Democracy, for the sake of choice, that the 3rd party candidate has taken a page from another politician’s play book: “I commit, I will not quit!”

Happy (campaign) trails, Governor! Keep ‘em spinning!

Publishers note: For those keeping track, Johnson did the foot race in 1989 and garnered a small buckle with a time of 29 hours, 45 minutes, 9 second, and in 2011 it was his time of 11:12:36 in the LT100 MTB that earned him a small buckle in the bike. That’s what Leadville Today has been able to confirm through Leadville Race Series online records, however Johnson boasts several victories dating back to the early 1990s. – KB

Kathy Bedell owns of The Great Pumpkin LLC, a digital media company located in Leadville, Colo., which publishes two online news websites: LeadvilleToday.com and SaguacheToday.com. She may be reached at info@leadvilletoday.com

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Leadville Sports Hall Inductions to Be Held August 5

This Friday, August 5 the Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame (LLCSHF) will hold its annual Induction ceremony, albeit a bit later than the usual late-June event.

Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame Board Members Carlos Martinez (l) and Gary Hanks (r) serve up the suds at the finish line for the Leadvilel Race Series. The beer tent is a major fundraiser for the local non-profit which will honor local athletes and teams at their induction ceremony this Friday, August 5. Photo: Leadville Today

Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame Board Members Carlos Martinez (l) and Gary Hanks (r) serve up the suds at the finish line for the Leadville Race Series. The beer tent is a major fundraiser for the local non-profit which will honor local athletes and teams at this Friday’s induction ceremony: Photo: Leadville Today

According to LLCSHF Committee member Carol Martinez the group was looking to increase participation and awareness of the event and determined that Boom Days weekend would be beneficial toward that goal. Therefore the public is invited to the FREE event which will welcome three new athletes in the elite group.

In addition, Friday’s celebration will include the announcement of the Massive Aware winners and pay special tribute to the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Leadville high school State Championship Basketball Team. The evening starts at 6 pm with a silent auction and hors d-oeuvres, followed by the Awards and Induction ceremony at 7 p.m. There is no charge to attend, but the Ha;l of Fame will have a silent auction and solicit donations for the Wall of Champions project.

And now the Class of 2016 Leadville/ Lake County Sports Hall of Fame Inductees – Congratulations!

Willard Harvey “Bill” Copper

Bill Copper

Bill Copper

Bill Copper arrived in Leadville as a young boy during the thirties with his parents, who served as caretakers of the Carleton Tunnel on Hagerman Pass. Bill used the opportunity to sell candy bars and soda to the caravans of cars that utilized the toll tunnel. In high school Bill started making winter trips on snowshoes and skis to the Carleton Tunnel with his father, who had to replace the water measuring chart every Saturday. Starting at the cemetery –the closest spot to the tunnel in the winter— the trip would take three days. One day up, one day to complete the duties, and the third to return. The intrepid skiers wore full width skis that were strapped at the toe, pine tarred and coated in paraffin. With no sunscreen products at the time, the men would rub charcoal into their skin to avoid intense burns. Protective glasses were also hard to obtain, heavy welding goggles were the most popular option. Cementing his lifelong involvement in the ski industry was ‘snob hill,’ where Bill was employed in high school to run the 450-foot rope tow on weekends.

Upon graduation from Leadville High School in 1943 Bill Copper entered the Army Air Forces. He saved his paychecks and sent them home with the dream of starting a sporting goods store. After his discharge in 1945, he persuaded his mother to let him use a small space in the front of their used furniture store and Bill’s Sports Shop was born. As one of only three ski shops in the state of Colorado, Bill’s Sports Shop initiated an opportunity for Leadville and surrounding areas to have access to state of the art equipment for the rising sport of skiing. The era afforded Bill the ability to carry all the best brands available, with the idea that athletes competing should not be hindered by their equipment. Even though Bill’s Sport Shop was small, it gained and maintained the highest respect of ski suppliers at both national and international levels.

When the Army gave Cooper Hill to the newly formed Cooper Hill Recreation Board, they approached Bill and asked him if he would put in a ski rental and repair shop at the mountain—he agreed. In the early fifties, the Forest Service required that there be at least one certified instructor to head the ski school. The board of directors approached Bill again to see if he would become certified—he did. Bill taught countless locals and visitors alike how to ski, eventually earning recognition and years of service awards from various ski instructors associations.

The local schools wanted to start a cross country ski racing team in the sixties. However, not many cross country skis were available at the time. Bill donated some of his rental skis and they were cut down in the high school shop to make them narrower and lighter weight. Many youth benefited from Bill Copper’s graciousness of providing regular transportation to and from Cooper Hill in his original power wagon and later his panel truck. Well over a dozen Leadville skiers from the fifties through the seventies went on to ski at college and university levels, several achieving national and even international participation. Few would have reached these levels without the support of Bill.

Bill did his best to ensure that high achieving local youth had access to the performance equipment they needed to be successful. In the late sixties, legendary cross country running coach Dick Anderson required the team to purchase a new hot running shoe made by Onitsucka called the Tiger. His athletes were purchasing them from out-of-state when Bills Sports Shop started carrying them. The shoe company later changed its name to Asics and is still one of the premier running shoes in the world. The shop was still selling that brand when the store closed in 2010.

Bill’s Sports Shop hosted several fundraising events throughout the years to secure funds to help pay for youth athletics. The store offered discounts on athletic wear for student athletes, even offering charge accounts to young athletes if they promised to pay using their allowance or funds from their part-time jobs. Bill’s shops always hired local boys and girls for part time help after school, and on weekends at Cooper Hill.

Bill’s quality ski shop expanded over the years to offer the latest ski and casual clothing styles, as well as supplies for other growing sports such as backpacking, cycling, climbing, scuba, court games and school teams. When the shop closed in 2010, after 65 years of operation, a list of all 317 past employees was published in the local newspaper honoring them and thanking the customers. Leadville has had many influential citizens and business associations through the years. It would be hard, if not impossible, to find anyone who has influenced, contributed or had more of an impact on the sports development, business climate or community support than Bill Copper.

Bill Copper’s lifelong involvement in community promotion is evidenced by his involvement in the Professional Ski Instructors Association, Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Association, Lake County Development Corporation and the Elks Lodge. His accomplishments do not end there, he was also a competitive burro racer—he was the 1951 Champion of the Pack Burro Race from Fairplay to Leadville.

Michael Stapleton

Michael Stapleton

Michael Stapleton

Michael Stapleton graduated from Leadville High School in 1970, where he solidified himself as a star basketball player during an era the Panthers competed in three consecutive Colorado State Basketball Tournaments. As a junior, Stapleton scored 269 points and 165 rebounds on the season. His play was instrumental in the Panther’s 19-4 season that garnered them the Pikes Peak League Championship; District Championship; and a second place trophy in the Class AA Colorado State Championship where he was selected to the Colorado State High School All-Tournament team. Stapleton was the Panther’s leading scorer his senior season with 475 points and the leading rebounder with 337. Leadville finished the season with a 17-7 record, winning the Pikes Peak League, District Championship and once again advancing to the Colorado State Tournament. The team placed fourth and Stapleton was again named to the Colorado State High School All-Tournament Team. Stapleton finished as the leading scorer in the Pikes Peak League; tied the Panthers single game scoring record with a 39-point performance; and his teammates named him the Panthers MVP. His season was highlighted by being named a First Team All-State selection by both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, and having the honor to represent Leadville in the Colorado Coaches All-Star game –playing for the South squad he scored 7 points and pulled down 18 rebounds.

While at Leadville High School, Stapleton was also a standout varsity athlete in football and track. As an end in football, he was named to the Pikes Peak League All-Conference First Team his senior year. His eight touchdown catches were instrumental to the team’s 7-2 season, one of the most successful in Panther history.

After high school Mike signed a letter of intent to play basketball for the Southern Colorado State College Indians (CSU-Pueblo) where he earned three varsity letters. His sophomore year he played on a team that posted a 19-9 record; won the program’s first overall Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC)title; and won the NCAA West Regional to advance to the NCAA College Division II quarterfinals. That season still stands as the furthest a CSU-Pueblo men’s basketball team has advanced in the NCAA tournament. The team was ranked as high as sixth in the nation during the season and was inducted into the CSU-Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. His junior year Stapleton played on a team that posted another 19-9 record and won the RMAC for the second year in a row. He was the starting center on the team for the last 18 games of the season. The Indians made it to the Midwest Regionals in Springfield, MO, where they finished in fourth place. His senior season Stapleton was given the honor of being selected as one of three team captains. His play was again instrumental to a successful campaign for the Indians as the team posted a 17-9 record and garnered second in the RMAC. He started the last 16 games at center and was second in rebounding on the team. Upon graduation, Stapleton was also named to the Dean’s List with Distinction for his 4.0 GPA.

After earning his degree Stapleton started a thirty year teaching career in Pueblo School District #70, of which twenty-seven years were spent at the same elementary school. He was named “School District #70 Teacher of the Year” in 1993, the only physical education teacher to ever receive that award. Stapleton coached middle school athletics for nineteen years and boys basketball at Pueblo County High School for five years. At the middle school level, he coached girls gymnastics, boys and girls track, and boys basketball. At the high school level Stapleton coached boys freshman basketball for one year and was the Assistant Boys Varsity Basketball Coach for four years, leading the Hornets to four straight Class 4A Colorado State Tournaments.

Tom Sobal

Tom Sobal

Tom Sobal

A native of Gary, Indiana, Tom Sobal moved to Leadville in 1986 after mountain biking through Colorado looking for the “ideal place to live.” He selected our community because he was fascinated by the elevation and the outdoor activities the area has to offer. Over the next sixteen years Tom Sobal would call Leadville home and honorably represent Lake County while establishing himself as a burro and snowshoe racing legend.

As a burro racer, Sobal won over 55 pack-burro races including 27 straight during one span of seven years. He won races using seven different burros, many with a burro named Maynard but also Bullwinkle, Hollywood, Nestor, Braxton, Mordecai and Spike. Sobal has the record for the most World Championships, winning eleven titles from 1989 to 2006, surpassing the nine titles of burro racing pioneer and 2004 Leadville-Lake County Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Glavinick. Sobal also has course records of 3:44:18 at Fairplay and 2:27:32 at Leadville.

Sobal is not only considered a snowshoe racing pioneer, but is arguably the most accomplished snowshoer in the United States. He was featured in Sports Illustrated and graced the cover of the Wall Street Journal who called him the Michael Jordan of Snowshoeing. Known for snowshoeing more miles per year than anyone in the world, Tom Sobal has won more than 130 races at distances ranging from 1 to 100 plus miles. He has also garnered five World Championship titles, numerous course records, and has won races in eight different states. He has the world’s best time for a marathon run on snowshoes, covering 26.2 miles in 3:06:17. During his career Tom raced for, represented and served as a spokesman for both Tubbs and Redfeather.

Sobal was also an accomplished mountain and trail runner, winning more than 85 races ranging from 3 to 35 miles in length and serving as a 3-time member of U.S. National World Cup Mountain Running Team.

Sobal was the founder and race director of the Turquoise Lake 20-mile Snowshoe Run for 20 years, and the founder and race director for the Turquoise Lake 20K run for 15 years. Both events brought thousands of participants to the Leadville area and undoubtedly provided an economic impact to the local community. Sobal helped lay out and measure the course for the initial Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. He raced in the inaugural event and finished eleventh overall with a time under nine hours despite mechanical issues that forced him to run several miles carrying his bike.

Sobal has been active in promoting running at all levels. He started the Colorado High School Snowshoeing Championships and directed that event at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville for two years. He founded and was an officer in the non-profit Leadville Running and Fine Dining Club for over 15 years.

Sobal has also been a frequent author, speaker, and instructor. Many times volunteering his time to share his knowledge and serve as an ambassador for the sports that he loves. He volunteered as a Technical Delegate for snowshoeing at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto, Canada (1997); Anchorage, Alaska (2001); Nagano, Japan (2005); Boise, Idaho (2009) and Pyeongchang, South Korea (2013). He has been a frequent contributor to numerous magazines and newsletters and has served on the national advisory Boards of the American Trail Running Association and the U.S. Snowshoe Association.

Sobal was selected by the local organizing committee to carry the Winter Olympic Torch when the relay passed through Leadville for the Salt Lake City games in 2002. He is the only Leadville resident ever afforded that honor.

“PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY.” – Tom Sobal

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Sa-WEET Sixteen for MBT: An Ode to Martin

Happy Sweet 16 to Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail (MBT)! Today is the popular recreation trail’s birthday. To celebrate here’s the story of how the MBT’s Martin Bridge got its name.

The Martin Bridge. Do you know where it is? If so, then you’ve been spending some time on Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail (MBT).

The Martin Bridge crosses over E. 7th Street on Leadville's Mineral Belt Trail.

The Martin Bridge crosses over E. 7th Street on Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail.

Now, for those who may not be familiar with where this structure is, it spans above E. 7th Street, near the famous Matchless Mine.

And while many regular MBT users may be familiar with where the bridge is, not many folks know how the Martin Bridge got its name.

From the beginning, the decision was rooted in common sense; there were no committees, work sessions, studies or grants involved. Back in 1999, the city and county coffers were pretty slim, so those who had stuck around to serve, had to make do. They had to think smarter; do more, with less.

And what better place to think smarter than around a table of hard-working, beer-drinking guys at the legendary Silver Dollar Saloon. One of the regulars at that table was Jim Martin, a former Climax Mine Manager who decided to stick around, seeing Leadville and Lake County through some of its shakier days.

Martin was Leadville’s Mayor for 8 years, from 1983 – 1991; he then went on to serve two terms as Lake County Commissioner from 1992 – 2000. Martin also served on the Board of Education and was very involved with Skyline Little League, as both a board member and umpire during baseball season.

The man and the bridge! Namsake Jim Martin (right) poses with good friend and owner of The Rock Hut, Jim Witmer (left) on the MBT's Martin Bridge. Photo: Kathy Bedell/LeadvilleToday.

The man and the bridge! Namesake Jim Martin (right) poses with good friend and owner of The Rock Hut, Jim Witmer (left) on the MBT’s Martin Bridge.

Jim Martin was a hard-core numbers guy. He was known to test people with a series of mathematical equations, to determine their mental prowess. The drill would usually go something like, take the number 6 multiple it by eight, subtract 7, divide by three, now take the square root of that number – and on and on he would go. This mathematical quiz was rambled off at a pretty good pace, and just when you were convinced that Martin himself wasn’t even following the equation, you were challenged to provide the answer. If you were spry enough to keep up with him and come to the same correct answer as Martin’s, then your “street cred,” rose considerably; maybe he’d even throw you a news tidbit.

Local leadership during this time, required that same kind of steadfastness. Things were still in a downward spiral, and most public meetings were held to discuss how to shave a bit more off the budget, rather than, what duplicated non-profit’s efforts should get more funding. Back then, it was a bit more “Shark Tank” and a little less “Kumbaya”.

A guy like Jim Martin was up for the job, and he did an incredible service to this community during that time. It was easy to respect his willingness to serve during that bust cycle. He earned it every day as he kept the Environmental Protection Agency on its toes, and away from encroaching any further onto local lands, an act which was slowly choking economic development in Lake County.

A great sense of humor is one tool that will get you through 20+ years of public service. Jim Martin (left) poses on the bridge named after him, with good friend Jim Witmer, both of whom will be appalled that their picture appears here! Photo: Kathy Bedell/Leadville Today.

A great sense of humor is one tool that will get you through 20+ years of public service. Jim Martin (left) poses on the bridge that bears his name, with good friend Jim Witmer, owner of The Rock Hut.

He was asked one time if it was harder to be Mayor or Commissioner? Martin retorted, “You know what was the toughest job I ever had in this town? Umpire for the Little League. Those parents were brutal! If they didn’t like a call, they didn’t hold back! They’d swear you up one side and down the other, right in front of the kids!”

During one of these famous beer-drinking work sessions – when Martin was absent – the rest of the guys discussed how they might be able to honor him. It was 1999 and Martin was coming to the end of his political career. While there wasn’t a lot of money in the coffers for some elaborate gesture, surely there was something they could do.

It was during this same time that the Mineral Belt Trail was reaching its completion, planning its Grand Opening on July 29, 2000. Time was of the essence, so operation “Martin Bridge” charged full steam ahead. In the spirit of, just-order-the-signs, it’s-easier-to-ask-forgiveness-than-permission, that MBT crossover was ceremoniously branded The Martin Bridge and the rest is history!

Jim Martin Obituary Photo

Jim Martin

Before he eventually retired to lower elevations for health reasons, Martin often enjoyed the trail, regularly crossing over his namesake. Last Friday-night-of-Boom-Days 2015, Jim Martin passed away at the age of 84. It was standing room only at his service. After all, he was a man who built bridges, helping to guide Leadville through some of its more challenging times in recent history. So be sure to give a little salute in his honor when you pass over the Martin Bridge as you take a birthday lap honoring 16 glorious years of the Mineral Belt Trail!

© 2016 Leadville Today

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New Interpretive Signs at the Matchless Mine

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) announced last week that new interpretive wayside signs have been installed at the Matchless Mine.

Thanks to some help from Duran & Lucero, the new signs at the Matchless Mine were installed last week at the popular tourist attraction.

Thanks to some help from Duran & Lucero, the new signs at the Matchless Mine were installed last week at the popular tourist attraction in Leadville.

The informative and colorful signs allow visitors the option of taking a self-guided tour instead of a tour led by a trained guide. Visitors may take self-guided tours anytime between noon and 4:45 p.m. through September. Hour-long guided tours are available daily at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. All tours are cash only.

The Matchless Mine is on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. It is significant because of the large amount of silver mined there in the 19th century and its association with Silver King Horace Tabor and his wife, Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor.

The Matchless Mine in Leadville, Colorado

The Matchless Mine in Leadville, Colorado

Signs discuss mining history, operations, and geology, as well as features visible throughout the historic site. Fabrication and design of the signs were made possible with financial support from Climax Molybdenum, The Summit Foundation, Don L. Griswold Charitable Foundation Trust, and Marcia and Frank McAllister. Fred Mark, Vincent Matthews, and Justin Weiss provided important input on content and graphic design. Duran & Lucero of Leadville provided equipment and labor to install the signs.

Commenting on the self-guided tour: A recent visitor said, “I enjoyed it. Signs were easy to read and had great info.”

The mission of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is to tell the story about mining, its people, and its importance to the American public. The Matchless Mine is located 1.25 miles east of Harrison Avenue on 7th Street in the Leadville Mining District.

Information about the NMHFM and Matchless Mine can be accessed at www.mininghallofame.org.

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Your Opinion “Fore” More Ski Trails at Golf Course

As most locals know, the golf season can be somewhat short at 10,152 feet, while the cross country ski season can last for several more months in America’s Highest City than most places.

The Forrest Service, Leadville Ranger District is soliciting input for the expansion of cross-country ski trails in the Mt. Massive Golf course area.

The Forrest Service, Leadville Ranger District is soliciting input for the expansion of cross-country ski trails in the Mt. Massive Golf course area.

To that end, it looks like officials want to develop additional cross country ski trails out at the Mount Massive Golf course area. So here’s the information from the Forest Service folks, and the chance to weigh in with your opinion. Note that the deadline for comment is Thursday, July 14, and notification of decision will be in November 2016. If approved, the development of the additional trails will begin in November-December 2016.Spac_50 Golf_ProposedXcountrySkiTrail_2016

Official wordThe Public is invited to participate in the planning process of a proposal for additional cross country ski trails located adjacent to the Mount Massive Golf course ski trails. The Leadville Ranger District of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) is conducting an analysis pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to add additional ski trails that are linked to the ski trails located on the golf course, seeking public comments is part of the process. This opportunity to comment provides the public an opportunity to provide meaningful input prior to the decision on projects and activities related to implementing land and resource management plans.

The Leadville Ranger District plans to evaluate the proposal for an additional 4.52 miles of variable cross country ski terrain that would cover an area of 4.9 acres including 4.5 feet buffer from the center of the groomed trail. There would be no vegetation manipulation required and this activity would only take place during the winter months so this would be over the snow travel only by nordic skis.Forrest Service Logo

The additional trails would increase skiable groomed terrain for visitors and locals, the groomed trail would be maintained by Mount Massive Golf course employees under a Special Use Permit in conjunction with existing cross country ski trails located at the golf course.

The Leadville District Ranger will be the responsible official. The anticipated level of NEPA is Categorical Exclusion 36 CFR 220.6(e)(3) Approval, modification, or continuation of minor special uses of NFS lands that require less than five contiguous acres of land.

The proposed action occurs within Management Area 2B and is consistent with the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Land and Resource Plan.

Management Area 2B: Provides opportunity for outdoor recreation in roaded natural and rural setting, including developed recreation facilities and year-round motorized and non-motorized recreation.

The National Forest System lands proposed for the cross country ski trails are located in Lake County, Township 9 South, Range 80 West, Secs. 19, 20, 29, 30. , 6th Principal Meridian, as shown on the map and scoping letter attached to this letter and found online at: LINK. 4.52 miles of cross country ski trail are on National Forest System lands.

Snowshoers round the trails out at Mt. Massive Golf Course during the annual Leadville Showshoe Marathon.

Snowshoers round the trails out at Mt. Massive Golf Course during the annual Leadville Showshoe Marathon.

Please submit your comments by July 14, 2016. Comments may be submitted by email to Jim Fiorelli jfiorelli@fs.fed.us. Alternatively, written comments may be submitted to: Leadville Ranger District, Attn: Jim Fiorelli, 810 Front Street, Leadville, CO 80461. Please be as specific as possible in expressing your comments so they can be effectively addressed. Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for this project, and will be available for public inspection.

The decision is expected in November 2016 with implementation anticipated to begin in November-December 2016 depending on weather and snow conditions. For more information contact Jim Fiorelli at 719-486-7411 or jfiorelli@fs.fed.us.

Thank you for caring about your National Forest!

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Can’t Ski? Lucky for You Leadville Has the Answers!

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today contributor

Whether it’s tight budgets or tight muscles, the ski hill might not be an easy commitment to make, but that doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing the bluebird day. Here are some (mostly free) alternative adventures to undertake in Leadville, accessible from virtually any ski lodge.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, a stroll on Leadville's historic Harrison Avenue has something for one and all!

Winter, spring, summer or fall, a stroll on Leadville’s historic Harrison Avenue has something for one and all! Photo: Leadville Today.

A stroll down historic Harrison Avenue is an experience that never gets old or stays the same. With monuments like The Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon and the Western Hardware Antique Mall, next to new ventures like Harper Rose Studios, this can be a walk through the past, present, and future all at once.

This historic oriental back bar at The Pastime Saloon is a big appeal for tourists and visitors. Photo: The Pastime Facebook Page.

This historic oriental back bar at The Pastime Saloon is a big appeal for tourists and visitors, but it’s Nate’s famous BBQ that keeps folks come back!

When lunchtime hits, head south on historic Harrison Avenue towards the last standing saloon in the old red light district which also offers some tasty new BBQ items, The Pastime Bar and Café can be found at 120 W. 2nd Street.

Or top the afternoon off at Leadville’s newest suds house, Periodic Brewing on E. 7th Street, where doors open at noon on weekends and 3 p.m.

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (http://mininghalloffame.org/), often called the “Smithsonian of the Rockies”, is always worth visiting. The museum features three levels of permanent exhibits telling the story of the ground beneath our feet and the men and women who broke it. Located at 120 W. 9th St, and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday thru Sunday.

Sledding and Tubing at Dutch Henri Hill, FREE of charge to folks who bring their own tubes or sleds, with rentals available. Four chutes (sometimes slick, sometimes powdery) lead down the hill, guaranteed to thrill. Located south of town at the intersection of US-24 and McWethy Drive.

Huck Finn Ice Rink at W. 5th St. and Leiter Ave. is now open, featuring its brand new Warming Hut facilities with rentals, snack bar, and sound system. Skating enthusiasts can find drop-in hockey and curling matches.

With a set of snowshoes or skinny skis there is virtually no end to the ground you can cover in Lake County. Head out to Turquoise Lake, Half Moon Creek, up into the historic mining district on the east side, or anywhere along the Mineral Belt Trail for Rocky Mountain winter solitude. For a map of Leadville’s winter trails: LINK.

The High Riders Snowmobile Club's grooming efforts provide miles and miles of groomed recreational winter trails. Nice view, eh!? Photo: Leadville Today

The High Riders Snowmobile Club’s grooming efforts provide miles and miles of groomed recreational winter trails. Nice view, eh!? Photo: Leadville Today

So head up higher to Leadville, America’s Highest City! More awaits those expecting the unexpected. Where locals are always willing to chat with visitors, share a tale, and set you off on a quest. So now, when that proverbial “skiing or snowboarding?” question comes up, you’ll have more than a mouthful to come back with after a day’s break from the slopes.

Leadville is accessible via Highway 91 from Copper Mountain (some say the most hitchhiked stretch of road in the United States), with the expanded Summit Stage winter bus schedule, or access from the Vail Valley via Highway 24 north compliments of the ECO Transit bus.

Brennan Ruegg skied his first blue hill last season.

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Leadville’s New Ice Rink Warming Hut Grand Opening

It’s time to sharpen those ice skates and start showing off your double-axles and figure eights! The Huck Finn Park Ice Rink and new Warming Hut are officially open for the season. And to celebrate this newest facility, the Lake County Recreation Department will host a Grand Opening this Saturday, Jan. 9 from 1 – 3 p.m.

The Grand Opening for the Huck Finn Ice Rink Warming Hut is Saturday, Jan. 9 from 1 - 3 p.m. Everyone welcome. Photo: Leadville Today

The Grand Opening for the Huck Finn Ice Rink and new Warming Hut is Saturday, January 9 from 1 – 3 p.m. Everyone welcome. Photo: Leadville Today

“We are so thrilled that the Huck Finn Ice Rink building has finally come to fruition,” said Recreation Director Amber Mcgee. “Without the hard work of the Huck Finn Committee and other County Departments we’d still be renting skates out of our tiny warming hut.”

And that’s what Lake County residents did for decades, if they wanted to skate on the homemade ice rink in Leadville, as Colorado’s two highest peaks loomed overhead.  

The old blue warming

The old blue warming “shack” sits to the right of the Huck Finn Park Ice Rink while the new 2,300 sq ft. warming hut stands on the left. Photo: Leadville Today

But today, the old warming hut stands in the shadows of the new facility, which was finished at the end of 2015, completing all of the redevelopment efforts of Huck Finn Park. Recent years have seen major upgrades to this recreation complex located in the heart of the Leadville, near the schools and hospital (well, just in case, right?). SEE Huck Finn Skate Park VIDEO.

So, whether you prefer to twirl, spin or simply enjoy some healthy exercise in the great outdoors, the ice rink offers plenty of room for newbies, or the more polished skater. Skaters should note there have been some changes this year. Admission has increased to $2.25, whether you have you own skates or not. Skate rental prices and hours however, will remain the same for the 2015-16 season: $1 for ages 14 and under and $2 for ages 15 and up, available DAILY from 3:30 – 9:00 p.m. (weather permitting). The rink is available to use for those with their own skates outside of normal business hours free of charge. 

The new Huck Finn Park Warming Hut has 2,300 square feet of enclosed space, including plenty of interior seating, and bathrooms which will be open year round for use by folks from the adjacent ball fields, skate park, tennis courts and dog park. There is also a 400 square foot outdoor fire pit area for folks to relax with a snack from the concession area while watching others skate. 

The building is also big enough to house the Zamboni and other ice making tools which are used during the winter, as well as the summer mowers used for the surrounding parks and fields.

A Zamboni with a view, and now a permanent home at the new ice rink building.

A Zamboni with a view, and now a permanent home at the new ice rink building.

If you’re looking to participate in some group rink activities, the recreation department is offering youth and adult hockey leagues, curling programs, and figure skating lessons. For details, readers may connect HERE. Also, in addition to this Saturday’s (Jan. 9) Grand Opening, skating enthusiasts should note the Full Moon Glow Skate to be held Saturday, Feb. 20. 

The Huck Finn Park Warming Hut was built by LM Kersting of Buena Vista, Colo. who won the bid and got right to work once the ground thawed and Lake County Public Works crews cleared and set the land last spring.

“This project completes the park redevelopment efforts of the Huck Finn complex,” concluded Lake County Commissioner Mike Bordogna. “It is the result of over 5 years of work, by numerous volunteers and county staff, and was made possible by community donations, city and county financial contributions, as well as numerous private grants and in kind contributions.”

The new Huck Finn Ice Rink Warming Hut was built by LM Kersting of Buena Vista, Colo. Photo: Leadville Today

The Huck Finn Ice Rink Warming Hut was built by LM Kersting of Buena Vista, Colo. Photo: Leadville Today

In a report obtained by Leadville Today, the final cost was $383,000, coming in $26,000 over budget of the estimated cost of the new Warming Hut. According to Commissioner Bordogna, the project went over budget after adding the outdoor fire pit with emergency shut-offs, and increasing the building size to accommodate future Zambonis. The overage expenses were taken from Conservation Trust Funds. A more detailed financial report of the project can be found: HERE.

“Thank you to everyone who has given blood, sweat, tears, financially donated, or spent time away from their family to make this dream a reality,” said Recreation Director Mcgee. “Please come see us soon for some skating!” 

So the invitation has been extended, now just grab your blades and head out to the Huck Finn Park Ice Rink and Warming Hut this Saturday, Jan. 9 from 1-3 p.m. for the Grand Opening Celebration. The ice rink is located – as it’s always been – at 500 West 4th Street in Leadville.

© 2015 Leadville Today

The 2015 men’s hockey league championship team, Northern Exposure. Photo: Lake County Recreation Department.

The 2015 men’s hockey league championship team, Northern Exposure will be the ones to beat this season! Photo: Lake County Recreation Department.

Spac_50Old Man Winter’s Checked In – Happy Trails, Leadville!

By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today

Wide. Open. Spaces. There are some still left in Colorado. And Leadville is the place to find them! After all, one of the things Lake County proudly touts, is that 75% of its land is open space and accessible to the public.

Groomer Clay Stewart with the High Riders Snowmobile Club heads east towards the Mosquito Range during his weekly Wednesday grooming task in Leadville's Historic Mining District. Photo Leadville Today.

Groomer Clay Stewart with the High Riders Snowmobile Club heads east towards the Mosquito Range during his weekly Wednesday grooming task in Leadville’s Historic Mining District. Photo Leadville Today.

Of course, there is a certain irony to that when a majority of those trails are situated at, or above, 10,200 feet, and can be covered in snow most of the year. But thanks to the grooming efforts of the High Riders Snowmobile Club (HRSC) , Leadville’s high mountain recreational trails have been made more accessible to ALL users.

So, as old man winter officially checked in for the season with this week’s storm dropping several inches of snow in town and much more than that in surrounding elevations, here’s some information about the Leadville Winter Trails program, sponsored and maintained by the HRSC.

Leadville Winter Trails wind through the historic mining district with glimpses of the past at every turn. Photo: Leadville Today

Leadville Winter Trails wind through the historic mining district with glimpses of Leadville’s rich heritage at every turn. Photo: Leadville Today

Leadville Today rode along with HRCC Groomer Clay Stewart, one of two the club has to maintain 50 miles of trails between Leadville’s East Side Historic Mining District and Turquoise Lake area, located west of Leadville. Every Wednesday, Stewart grooms miles and miles of terrain that most only see during the summer months . . . until recently. But get ready, because the secret is about to get out!

Since the early 1980s, the snowmobile club has groomed the trails around Turquoise Lake, one of the most heavily used snowmobile areas in the county. It’s only been in the last few years, that they’ve taken on Leadville’s east side, where they maintain 25 miles of snow-laden trails.

About three years ago, the Lake County Commissioners gave the club permission to groom unplowed county roads through the mining district. From where the plow stops at the top of 5th Street (County Road 1) and 7th Street (County Road 3), the HRSC groomer picks up the task, and continues the trail maintenance through Adelaide Park, Stumptown, up to the top of Mosquito Pass, over past the Hopemore Mine and on through to the “overlook.”

The grooming maintenance agreement also reaches out to the west, to Turquoise Lake, for another 25 miles of trails, which includes the lake trails, Boustead Tunnel, St. Kevins, and up towards Hagerman Pass.

“Our biggest customers (on the east side) are walkers,” explained Stewart. The trail is a solid base layer, so folks are not likely to “post-hole” it. But, he adds, he sees all kinds of users skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, winter mountain bike riding, dog sledding, walking, and of course snowmobiling.

A group of students from High Mountain Institute prepares to get out on the groomed Leadville Winter Trails during a recent backcountry adventure. Photo: Leadville Today.

A group of students from High Mountain Institute prepares to get out on the groomed Leadville Winter Trails during a backcountry adventure. Photo: Leadville Today.

This winter the club has secured a second groomer, eliminating the need for a “commute” across town to maintain the east/west trail system. Last season, the club’s new, smaller groomer allowed HRSC to access the tighter connections, something unlikely with the bigger snow cat models. The funding for the groomer’s operating costs comes primarily from Colorado Trails. This state trails program uses money from snowmobile registration fees, redistributing it to snowmobile clubs for developing, maintaining, and grooming multi-use trails

Happy Trails, thanks to the HIgh Riders Snowmobile Club grooming efforts. Photo: Leadville Today

Happy Trails, thanks to the HIgh Riders Snowmobile Club grooming efforts. Photo: Leadville Today

In addition, the snowmobile club secures funding from Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Recreational Trail Program, these are federal funds generated from the fuel tax that off-road vehicles pay when gassing up. These monies, in turn, are rebated back to the state. Based on usage, Colorado then distributes the revenue to programs, like the one HRSC has in place for Leadville Winter Trails.

While the maintenance and grooming comes from the state’s trail programs, the machines’ initial investment came together with some local funds as well.  For the most part, the groomers are paid for with monies from Lake County GOCO funds but have also looked to Colorado State Trails, the Climax Community Investment Fund and the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation to help meet the $165,000 price tag for a new machine, and one small enough to operate on the narrower trails, especially en route to the top of Mosquito Pass. 
Video from the top of Mosquito Pass

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The club has two groomers: Eddie Halcomb and Clay Stewart. Here’s some insight into their grooming schedule and when you can take advantage of the best conditions. On Monday mornings at 6 a.m. Halcomb, who is the HRSC chairman and primary groomer, starts grooming the Turquoise Lake trails. These areas see heavy snowmobile use, so smoothing out the trails after the weekend, allows weekday users a more enjoyable experience. Then Halcomb will hit those Turquoise Lake trails again on Friday so that they are ready for the big weekend usage.

After Monday morning’s stint at Turquoise Lake, Halcomb heads east, to take to the mining district, which has seen an increase in use since the grooming program was implemented.  Mid-week, on Wednesday, Groomer Clay Stewart comes in to groom the mining district again.  He also takes charge of designated areas after significant snow storms, to keep the trails open to users.

After three years of grooming, the snowmobile club has proven to themselves, and users, that could stick to a reliable schedule, and now it’s time to start marketing that to a wider audience.

Leadville Winter Trails Map, from the High Riders Snowmobile Club.

Leadville Winetr Trails Map Spac_50

“Now we know we can do it, and that people like it,” stated Stewart, who emphasized the positive feedback he has got from trail users he has encountered during his grooming runs.

So what’s next for the Leadville winter Trail program? Stewart, a career military guy, has created an acronym for the next steps: GPSMML, which stands for Grooming, Parking, Signage, Mapping, Marketing and Leadership.

Last winter the group’s efforts were focused on mapping and signage, which made respectable strides in providing users informaiton about where to go and the difficulty of terrain. As any backcountry user will tell you, any landscape and geographical points of reference can change quickly when you add a couple feet of snow and blowing wind. So, creating a map, and on-trail signs to let people know where to go, was essential from a safety perspective.

Winter Trail information kiosks have been established, including a topographical map of the area that users can take with them. Pictured here: HRSC Groomer Clay Stewart. Photo: Leadville Today.

Winter Trail information kiosks have been established, including a topographical map of the area that users can take with them. Pictured here: HRSC Groomer Clay Stewart.

There are now information kiosks at pivotal trailheads, which provide a large reference map to the area, as well as a detailed topographical map of the district that users are encouraged to take with them.

During the summer season the team produced a website: leadvilletrails.com, allowing users to interact with historical markers and access information regarding current trail conditions.

“Think of it as the winter tour of the Route of the Silver Kings,” said Stewart, referring to the popular summertime driving tour of the historic mining district.

So, if you’re one of the thousands of recreationalists who love Leadville’s historic mining district in the summer, consider discovering those same trails during the winter!

“Very little compares to this backcountry scenery, maybe the French Alps,” states Stewart, who has traveled the world extensively during his lengthy military career, but choose to settle in Leadville for retirement.

Know where to go! And with these new signs on the trail, you can!

Know where to go! And with these new signs on the trail, you can! Photo: Leadville Today.

 “The miners left us this fantastic trail network. Nature gave us the snow, sunshine, and scenery. So if you’re sitting in your house for those 6 months of winter, and not getting out and enjoying this, then you’re not enjoying Leadville.” concluded Stewart.

High Riders Snowmobile Club has been around since the early 80s. In recent years, between the club’s Leadville Winter Trails grooming program, and the Annual Leadville High-Altitude Snowmobile Drag Races held annually in early February, interest in the group is growing. The group is currently seeking new members for rides, recreation and a really good time out on the trails. If you’re interested in becoming part of the HRSC or have any questions concerning the Leadville Winter Trails program, contact Clay Stewart at  719-486-7311 or connect with the group on the HRSC’s Facebook Page.Spac_50 

Update on the Stage Rail Trail: Leadville To Salida

One of the magical things about driving south along Highway 24, aside from the beautiful scenery, is the sense of history you feel when traveling beside the same route as the old stagecoaches and rail lines. StageCoach_Rail_logoAs you gaze out across the Arkansas River, the defined line of those former transportation routes comes in and out of focus as they bounce their way along the waterway.

No doubt the stagecoach and railroad were rough and dusty means of making your way into the high country. But the riches that enticed many to “head west” were not going to be waylaid by discomfort or the perils that stagecoach and rail travelers encountered along the way, from highway robbers to unexpected snow blizzards. It makes you wonder what it would have been like to make the trip to Leadville via stagecoach or rialroad.

Today, thanks to efforts by Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), the experience of journeying along that same passageway is one step closer to reality.  The GARNA folks have been spearheading the Stage and Rail Trail project, a 64-mile long hiking/biking/horseback trail between Leadville and Salida, along historic stagecoach and railroad routes.Spac_50 

here is a map of the Lake and Chaffee County region indicating generally where the proposed S&RT would pass. Graphic: GARNA

Here is a map of the Lake and Chaffee County region indicating generally where the proposed Stage & Rail Trail would pass. Graphic: GARNA

Spac_50For decades, residents of Chaffee and Lake Counties, as well as visitors, have observed from a distance the fascinating remnants of the 1870’s stage road along the Arkansas River, especially evident around the small community of Granite. Equally interesting are pieces of Colorado’s famous Midland Railroad and its contemporary competitor the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, some of which have survived as Chaffee County public roads including the well-known tunnels north of Buena Vista.

This GARNA-administered project focuses on the development of a long-distance hiking/biking/horseback and – in some sections – driving trail along the historic stage road and Midland Railroad. According to their website: Over the past several years, GARNA and some of its local volunteer members have been exploring how best to draw attention to the historic significance and facilitate preservation of two of the upper Arkansas River’s major early transportation corridors: the Canon City to Leadville Stage Road and the Colorado Midland Railroad.

Stagecoach Photo Source: Hayden Family

Stagecoach Photo Source: Hayden Family

In early 2010 this effort became more focused when GARNA was awarded a $40,000 planning grant from the Colorado State Trails Program to conduct a feasibility study, followed by a second grant in 2013 to develop a draft Master Plan.

Now, the group is focused on fundraising efforts to make the trail a reality. You may learn more about how to contribute time, resources, and knowledge: HERE. The group hopes to keep the dream alive and for GARNA to assure that the wheels keep spinning down the dirty, dusty trails to Leadville.Spac_50InTheVille_Stagecoach

 

A Downward Dog to the Full Moon on Tuesday

There are some who believe that the full moon is a time to release what no longer serves us, inviting an expansion of mind and body. Full moon Studio 225If that resonates with you then be sure to join the Full Moon Goddess Gathering this Tuesday, Oct. 27 during the Harvest moon. This intentional Yoga ritual for women will be conducted by R. R. Shakti, MA at Studio 225 in downtown Leadville.

According to organizers, Yoga is a practice of awaking your fullest potential Harvest the seeds you have planted this year with inspiration from the Harvest Goddesses of the World. It’s time to reap what you’ve sewn. The program will be held from 6 – 9 p.m. with preparation for movement and discussion. The cost is $20/per person. Some more information: LINK.Spac_50

Tumbling Along: Gymnastics Programs Starts Tuesday

The Lake County Recreation Department will begin its Gymnastic Program Session I this Tuesday, Oct. 27. The classes will be divided based on ability and ages and run on Tuesdays from October 27 through December 22 at the 6th Street Gym. GymnasticsThe classes will be taught by high school teacher and coach Ben Wells whose experience includes 15+ years in gymnastics at all levels as both a coach and participant. Wells is a USA Gymnastics members and certified senior coach. He has worked with students from both homeschooled programs and competitive teams.

Cost s $50 for one child or enroll two children for $90. For more information: LINK.

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Dog Park Opens with Tricks, Treats . . . and A Lobster?

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today contributor 

The gates officially opened on Saturday, Oct. 17 to the Lake County Dog Park (LCDP), a fenced playground for the ever-growing population of four-legged friends who call Leadville home. Located in Huck Finn Park at 505 W. 5th St., the 3/4-acre park is now available to dogs and dog-owners all days of the week, sun-up to sun-down. 

The Lake County Dog Park officially opened on October 17 to rave and

The Lake County Dog Park officially opened on October 17 to rave and “ruff” reviews! Photo: Brennan Ruegg/LeadvilleToday

The opening went off excellently with members of the LCDP Committee welcoming upwards of thirty furry friends with treats, toys, and scratches behind the ear. As part of the festivities, dogs sported their Halloween spirit with a costume contest, with participants dressed as a Chipotle burrito, banana split, and a Broncos fan. However it was Olive, a black Labrador who took first place with her lobster costume as proud mother Abby Long accepted the award on her behalf. Everyone was panting and smiling and kicking up dust under a summer day in fall.

Abby Long with her dog Olive who won the dog cotume contest with her adorable Lobster disguise! Photo: Craig Martin/Facebook

Abby Long with her dog Olive who won the dog costume contest with her adorable Lobster disguise! Photo: Craig Martin/Facebook

With tensions running high in the heat cycle (and political season), and law enforcement bringing down the hammer with leash laws, The Lake County Dog Park Committee hopes to have brought the perfect spot for Spot to regain his freedom with an off-leash common ground where he and his new friends can romp around, socialize, and sniff each other as equals.  Make it a regular stop on your best friend’s daily walk around town. For more about the new dog park or how to get involved, visit the Leadville Dog Park Facebook page, or contact Steve Wittington at  Leadvilledogpark@gmail.com

Brennan Ruegg is a proud friend of a dog named Mamba. They live together in Leadville and spend a lot of time in the thicket.

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